Correction: Bob Weir is a Haymarket Town Council member. His title was wrong in an earlier version of this article.
For the second time in less than two weeks, incumbent county chairman Corey Stewart is getting criticized for the political donations he has accepted. This time, Haymarket Town Councilman Bob Weir called out Stewart this week for accepting $10,000 from Bruni Peters of Fairfax-based RK Realty less than two weeks before the county board approved an amendment to its comprehensive plan that paved the way for a housing and office project on 44 acres off U.S. 15 in Haymarket.
Stewart has taken a huge amount of donations from Realtors and developers—almost $141,000, which is by far the largest amount from any industry that has donated to his re-election campaign against Democrat Babur Lateef and independent John Gray.
There is nothing illegal about taking donations from applicants who have projects that the elected official has voted on, but some lawmakers have tried to pass laws that would have prohibited what Stewart has done.
Del. Bob Marshall, who is running for re-election against Democrat Carl Genthner, filed a bill in 2000 that would have prohibited any county, town or city official who votes on zoning cases from taking donations from any person affiliated with a project that came up for a vote within six months of the donation. Marshall said he rarely gets donations from the developer industry because he always demands that development pay its way.
"They dont want to pay the cost of the roads," Marshall said.
Marshall said if the bill had passed, it would have given "more confidence to the public that these projects were getting approved based on their own merit and not on who gives money."
Marshall also tried to pass conflict of interest laws that would require any official who votes on a zoning case to disclose potential conflicts. Ironically, Marshall said this bill was introduced after a Haymarket woman serving on a zoning advisory board recommended a rezoning for land she owned, which she did not disclose.
"Public officials need to be prudent more than the average citizen should be," Marshall said.
Lateef is running a commercial that criticizes Stewart for accepting more than $20,000 from the Potomac Nationals and affiliates after using taxpayer money to refurbish the county-owned stadium that the team uses. Stewart had said that the team was planning to leave the county, so fixing the stadium kept the team in Prince William County. But Lateef's ad says Stewart ignores more pressing county issues to help people who have donated large sums of money to his campaign. Although parts of the ad were misleading, the donations were accurate.
Stewart's Developer donations:Amount Donor $10,000 PWTC Pad Sites LLC $10,000 RK Realty $5,000 Gary D Rappaport $5,000 Roadside Development $2,500 Christopher Clemente $2,500 Robert C Kettler $2,500 Preston Miller $1,500 Brian J Selfe $1,250 Jon M Peterson $1,000 Foulger Pratt Develop Inc $1,000 Christopher Kallivokas $1,000 Kellys Ridge Development LLC $550
Murad Pandit$500 Clemente Development Co Inc $500 Mitchell L Phelps $400 LandServices Development Corp $200 Haymarket Center 38 LLC $200 Haymarket Center Village LLC $200 Barbara L Lehm Siegel $200 Eugene I Siegel
Rental, Real Estate Managers:Amount Donor $10,000 Property Services Inc $7,500 Town Center Apartments LC $2,500 BLJV LLC $2,500 Cardinal Management $2,500 Fortuna Regency Llc $2,000 Evergreens At Smith Run $2,000 Jefferson Plaza Partners LLC $1,500 IDI Management Corp $1,000 Awana Operating Co $1,000 SMJ Management LLC $500 Boosalis Management Co $200 Midwood LLC $200 Riggin Property Management Inc $200 Village At Heathcote LLC
Commercial Real Estate:Amount Donor $9,600 Preston C Caruthers $6,000 Quantico Business Center LLC $2,500 Mary Ann Ghadban $250 Coleman G Rector
Homebuilders:Amount Donor $3,500 Jongil Kim $3,247 F Gary Garczynski $1,000 Arcadia East Co $1,000 Mike Garcia Homes $1,000 Toll Brothers $500 Brookfield Management Washington LLC $500 National Home Improvement of Va $500 Novella Homes $500 Stanley Martin Companies Inc
Realtors:$5,000 Tower Group Brokerage LLC $1,000 Scott Bishopp $1,000 Va Assn of Realtors $1,000 Wiley Inc $500 Bruni Peters